Description - Florida is part of the Atlantic-Gulf Coastal Plain housing three large land tracts: the Atlantic Coastal Plain, the East Gulf Coastal Plain, and the Florida Uplands. Travelers will find these areas sectioned into eight travel regions. The state is a bridge between the tropics and the temperate North America. Diverse landscapes along with gorgeous flora and endangered fauna draw millions of tourists from around the globe.
Copyright: National Park Service
- Before man arrived in Florida, it was truly a paradise. In 1513, when Juan Ponce de Leon, the Spanish explorer, landed in Florida he declared "Feast of Flowers." Even today, the state is treated to year-round blossoms. In the 1800s, the well-known naturalist and artist, John James Audubon, wrote during a visit to South Florida, "We observed great flocks of wading birds flying overhead toward their evening roosts .... They appeared in such numbers to actually block out the light from the sun for some time." The skies are still filled with a paradise of birds including roseate spoonbills, frigatebirds, and red-cockaded woodpeckers. Florida has much to boast about including the largest American bald eagle population outside Alaska and more tree species than any other state. Wildlife viewing is supreme throughout all regions. Black bears, panthers, manatees, alligators, crocodiles, dolphins and sea turtles inhabit the remote stretches. Barrier islands line both the Atlantic Coast and the Gulf of Mexico. Freshwater lakes, quiet wetlands, and world-class coral reefs offer recreation, exploration and study throughout much of the state.
Recreation - Florida is an outdoor recreation paradise. The state's 8,000 miles of shoreline and mild climate create an array of outdoor recreation opportunities that are unmatched along the East Coast of America. Due to the pleasant climate throughout the state, these activities are typically available year-round and statewide. Some of the most popular activities available include an array of water sports, hiking, backpacking, fishing, camping, nature study, scenic driving, bird-watching and wildlife viewing.
Climate - Florida's weather is dominated by the water that surrounds it. The Atlantic Ocean in the east and the Gulf of Mexico in the west provide a stabilizing force that maintains the mild climate. Northern Florida is considered sub tropical, although it does receive some snow. This area is drier than the rest of the state. Southern areas of the state, definitely the Keys, lie within a tropical climate. Humidity is high, a characteristic of the climate, although the temperatures usually don't extend past 90 degrees F.
On the average the state receives 50 to 65 inches of rain. Summer is the rainy season, which extends into October in the south. Hurricane season begins in late August. Some hurricanes can bring up to 25 inches of rain. An average of two hurricanes per season reach the Florida peninsula. Most often these storms reach the Atlantic Coast rather than the Gulf Coast.
The Sunshine State is the southernmost state on the U.S. mainland. The majority of the state is a large peninsula dipping approximately 400 miles south to within a mere 100 miles of the Cuban coastline. The large landmass falls between the Atlantic Ocean on the east and the Gulf of Mexico on the west.